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Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music

Drake started from the bottom, and now he's here in the Bay Area on Tuesday. 

We're nearing the part of the live music calendar when touring bands hibernate for the winter, but we're not quite there. Options are aplenty, but you'd be wise to capitalize on these shows while you can:

Social Studies, Brick & Mortar Music Hall, Monday

San Francisco’s Social Studies just keep popping up on notable marquees and festival lineups. After gigs at Outside Lands and a coup of an opening slot for Hot Chip earlier this year at Slim’s, we’re ready to call Social Studies SF’s next big thing. All the pieces are here: unique identity, swagger, and, ya know, complex but always thrilling, twisting songs. See for yourself:

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Drake, Oracle Arena, Tuesday

Here’s what e-folks are saying about Drake’s new album Nothing Was the Same: This lush, un-hurried album reveals a surer character, rebuking other rappers who talk smack "just to get a reaction" and even relatives diminished by easy money and proximity to fame. (Entertainment Weekly); “None of [the guest vocals] disrupt Drake’s effortless triumph over mainstream rap excess.” (New York Times); “Nothing Was the Same is Drake and 40's most audacious experiment yet in how far inward they can push their sound” (Pitchfork Media) In other words, when Drake does his new jams at Oracle on Tuesday, pay close attention. This is hip-hop at its finest.

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Dylan Fest, Great American Music Hall, Wednesday

Long an institution in New York City, Dylan Fest comes to San Francisco for the first time this week. As you probably guessed, Dylan Fest gives current musicians and fans a chance to celebrate the music of living legend Bob Dylan. It’s all about the names involved: The Cabin Down Below Band with Doyle Bramhall II, Elvis Perkins, Eric Pulido (of Midlake), Craig Finn & Tad Kubler (of The Hold Steady), Erika Wennerstrom (of Heartless Bastards), Ruby Amanfu, Chuck Prophet, Rayland Baxter, The Whigs, Danny Clinch, Nicki Bluhm, Tim Bluhm, Boots Riley, Lukas Nelson, Josh Lattanzi (of The Candles), Chase Cohl, Kelley Stoltz, Neal Casal, and more surprise guests. Should be a special night at GAMH.

Poliça, The Fillmore, Thursday

The New York Times summed up Polica’s sound and working philosphy quite well in this profile last week: “Its music opens up wide spaces to expose tidings of desire, separation, longing, bitterness and resolve: breakup songs that absolve no one.” That’s exactly how it feels to experience lead singer and lyricist Channy Leaneagh’s disenchanted narratives. The band’s star is quickly rising on the heels of Shulamith, one of the more confident electropop albums of 2013.

Van Morrison, Nob Hill Masonic Center Auditorium, Friday and Saturday

Fun fact of the day: When the Tenembaums bury family patriarch Royal Tenembaum at the end of cult classic Royal Tenembaums, we hear Van Morrison’s “Everyone” — a brilliant song, but somewhat out of place in the narrative flow, IMO. Turns out the song was director Wes Anderson’s second choice to end the film, his first being The Beatles demo version of “I’m Looking Through You.” From IndieWire: “Anderson went to great lengths to try to attain the rights to the original recordings, even sending Paltrow on a personal mission to get them from Paul McCartney.”

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*The more you know...*


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